Science & Technology

Science news

The only physicist in Congress, on the state of science on the Hill

Jan 23, 2017
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<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/robcrawley/3113439955/">Rob Crawley</a>/<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">CC BY 2.0</a>&nbsp;(image cropped)

When the 115th Congress was sworn in on Jan. 3, there was no shortage of solemn ceremony, smiling children and photo ops with Joe Biden. But one thing the room lacked? Scientists.

“At this point, I think I am the only Ph.D. scientist of any kind [in Congress],” says Bill Foster, D-Illinois. “We have some political scientists, I think a mathematician, but it feels sort of lonely.”

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CDC/James Gathany

Despite the medical advances of the past century, malaria is still a global scourge. According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 429,000 people died of malaria worldwide in 2015, and there were over 200 million new cases.

Solar panels are cheaper than ever. But some manufacturers are losing money.

Jan 21, 2017
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<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/usfws_pacificsw/8159035850/in/photostream/">Sarah Swenty/USFWS</a>. <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">CC BY 2.0</a>. Image cropped.&nbsp;

The price of solar photovoltaic panels is coming down, and it’s great news for consumers, solar installers and the environment.

But not everyone is happy about cheap solar: The price of solar photovoltaics is so low, that, according to Bloomberg, some manufacturers were likely selling at a loss in December 2016.

Where Do Baby Seahorses Come From?

Jan 21, 2017

The Gesture That Changed Human History

Jan 21, 2017

Animating the friendly ocean in Disney's 'Moana'

Jan 16, 2017
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Courtesy of Disney&nbsp;

Disney’s newest animated film “Moana” tells the story of a teenager who goes on a quest to save her people, leaving the safety of her home island in the South Pacific to travel the ocean.

Three ways to die on Venus, and other space facts

Jan 14, 2017
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ESA (image by Christophe Carreau).&nbsp;

Today we call it the “Big Dipper,” but in the year 75000, we may look up in the night sky and admire a constellation known affectionately as the “Big Spatula.”

As astronomer Dean Regas explains, that’s because the stars are moving relative to our position here. “And so you know, over thousands and thousands of years, the constellations we see today will actually change a little bit,” he says. “Where we saw the Big Dipper, they'll see something that looks like a big spatula. And who knows what kind of mythology will spring from that.”

Citizen scientists have been taking an annual ‘bird census’ for over a century

Jan 14, 2017
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<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/kim/16677151112/">Finiky</a>/<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/">CC BY 2.0</a>. Image cropped.&nbsp;

As snow, wind and rain kept many of us cozy inside our homes this December, thousands of bird-watchers grabbed their binoculars and headed out for a day in the elements.

Theirs was no average bird-nerd-devotion: They were on a mission to count every bird they saw or heard, as part of the National Audubon Society's 117th annual Christmas Bird Count.

The count, which begins every Dec. 14 and wraps every Jan. 5, is a census of local bird populations.

The art and science of composing movie scores

Jan 8, 2017
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Baher Kairy/CC0. Image cropped.

Imagine what some of the most thrilling films ever made would be like without their musical scores.

Cracking Open How Dinosaurs Hatched

Jan 7, 2017

A Trip to a Gadget Nirvana

Jan 7, 2017
An image of entomologist Holly Menninger with a cicada on her head.
Courtesy Holly Menninger

Entomologist by training, Holly Menninger has spent much of her life bridging the gap between the science happening in labs across the country, and the general public. As a high school student she was responsible for explaining the Ice Age to visitors at a local museum.

The weight of gender bias on women’s scientific careers

Jan 1, 2017

A series of high-profile sexual misconduct investigations have sent waves through the scientific academy this year.

In recent years, the opioid epidemic has touched a staggering number of American families.

Nationwide, more than 52,000 people died of a drug overdose in 2015. Of those deaths, 33,000 involved opioids such as prescription pain relievers or heroin, according to data released in December by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In all, more than 300,000 Americans have lost their lives to an opioid overdose since 2000.

The hidden costs of prescription drug coupons

Dec 26, 2016
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Joanna M. Foto/CC0. Image cropped.

You may have noticed that some drug companies offer coupons to consumers — which slash copayments for brand-name medications.

The coupons are good news for people who face expensive copayments at the counter. But they frustrate insurance companies and are even banned in some states. According to Margot Sanger-Katz, a health care correspondent for The New York Times, that’s because, despite initial savings, the coupons come with hidden costs — and may even make our drugs more expensive in the long run.

These early female astronomers shattered the 'glass universe'

Dec 26, 2016
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Harvard College Observatory

Looking up at the night sky, we know that a star’s brightness can tell us something about how far away it is, and even what it’s made of. But how do we know that?

As it turns out, our system for classifying stars comes from work done by a group of female astronomers at Harvard more than a century ago. Decades before American women gained the right to vote, the astronomers of the Harvard College Observatory shattered the “glass universe,” analyzing delicate photographic plates to discern patterns in the cosmos. 

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stevepb/CC0. Image cropped.

On Dec. 13, President Barack Obama signed the 21st Century Cures Act into law, after the bill received wide bipartisan support in Congress.

Space Trivia, and a Cosmic Trip Planner

Dec 24, 2016

A True Story of High Drama in Space

Dec 24, 2016

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